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School and Family


In Switzerland, the education system is administered at a cantonal level. In the Canton of Vaud, education is organised as follows:

  • Pre-school (0 - 4 years): Before reaching the age of admittance to an infant's school, parents may send their child to a special facility (infants' centre, play centre, kindergarten, day nursery, etc).
  • Infant's schools, initial cycle (4 - 6 years): These schools are not compulsory, but are attended by more than 95% of the children of each Class year.
  • Compulsory education (6 - 16 years): Compulsory education begins at 6 years of age and lasts for nine years. It includes four primary years (2 cycles of two years each), a transition cycle (5th and 6th years), and three years of secondary education.
  • Post-compulsory education (16 years plus): At the end of secondary education, the young person's education can continue in various ways, either within the framework of vocational training (in school or through an apprenticeship), or at a traditional high school, or in another type of school awarding a school leaver's certificate. There is also a transition year for students who do not yet have a definitive study plan at the end of their compulsory education.

Day nursery

For children whose parents are working or studying at the University of Lausanne, the institution, in collaboration with the Federal Polytechnic school of Lausanne, provides two day nurseries that accept children from the age of 8 weeks and up to the age of admittance to an infant's school. If you prefer a day nursery near the place you live, by consulting the useful links on this page you will find a complete list of nurseries active in the vicinity of Lausanne.

Public (i.e. state-run) schools

If your stay exceeds six months, you can enrol your children at one of the schools of your municipality of residence. Their assignment to a particular school and building may depend on pupil numbers in classes or on constraints related to how your family is organised. We advise you to contact the Schools Department before your arrival to confirm the possibility of enrolment.

Primary and secondary schools
Place Chauderon 9
5e étage
Case postale 5032
CH-1002 Lausanne
Phone: +41 (0)21 315 64 11
Fax: +41 (0)21 315 60 04

Private schools

A large number of private schools operate in the Canton of Vaud. They are grouped together in an association: the AVDEP. Its web site contains all information concerning regulations and enrolment procedures.

How to proceed

It is very important for you to begin your search before your arrival, because the availability of places cannot be guaranteed.

The association "La" has created a comprehensive information centre for families with children living in Switzerland. On the pages of their web site, you can find advice, useful addresses and information classified by subject matter or accessible through a key word search.


Family Reunification

For family reunification, nationality is the decisive factor. The nationals of a signatory country of the agreement on the free circulation of persons (French acronym: ALCP), can apply for family reunification in favour of the spouse, husband or wife, descendants of both spouses aged under 21 or over 21 if they are still dependents, and any ascendants who are dependents of the applicants. The conditions governing eligibility for family reunification are as follows:

  • having appropriate accommodation
  • having health insurance cover for all family members
  • having sufficient financial means for the family's maintenance
  • for descendants aged over 21 and ascendants, proving the existence of their prior dependence

If you are a national of a non-signatory State, but you are the holder of a B or C residence permit, your family members are entitled to apply for a residence permit for family reunification. If you are the holder of a short-term L permit or of a B residence permit of a temporary nature (permit for study, internships, etc), your family members cannot, in principle, claim the right to family reunification. The application for family reunification may be filed in favour of the spouse and the children of both spouses under 18 years of age.

The conditions governing eligibility for family reunification are the following:

  • having appropriate accommodation
  • having health insurance cover for all family members
  • having sufficient financial means for the family's maintenance
  • for holders of a B residence permit, proving the existence of a stable gainful activity and therefore of employment

For information on the procedure for family reunification, see the specific web page of the Canton of Vaud.


 in this site:
Château de Dorigny  -  CH-1015 Lausanne  - Switzerland  -  Phone +41 21 692 20 20  -  Fax  +41 21 692 20 05